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Ph: Rayén Luna



The start of developments at Papomono Masivo will give rise to one of the most significant structural optimization projects for the Company; whose Mining Manager, Jorge Baraqui, provides details on the scope of this operation.

The Papomono Masivo sector of the underground mine is an operational consolidation project that will be developed by Minera Tres Valles. It will use the Inclined Block Caving mining method, which is an innovative procedure for a medium-sized project. Aiming to optimize underground mining operations, this method allows to prioritize high-grade areas and extract ore with a low unit cost of production.

Several mineralized structures converge inside the Papomono underground mine, some are vertically oriented and others sub-horizontal layers, which form an attractive exploitation sector for the chosen mining method, leading to an increase in productivity at this deposit.

Block Caving is a very attractive method due to its low cost of operation and high productivity, and it is more often developed in large-scale deposits.

“The variant to be used by Minera Tres Valles, Inclined Block Caving, is an innovation in regard to the design and layout of the extraction points. The conventional design places all extraction points at a single production level; meanwhile in our variant, the extraction points are placed at different levels which together reach the desired production level. This arrangement allows us to limit the height of columns according to their higher degree of mineralization, thus avoiding excessive waste extraction”, as stated by Jorge Baraqui, Tres Valles’ Mining Manager who has vast experience with developing this kind of system.

Currently, the underground mine uses an exploitation method focused on selectivity, which entails low productivity and a high production cost. The start of the Papomono Masivo program will produce a great change in terms of efficiency, which will allow the company to reduce operational expenses and feed its processing plant with its own ore constantly.

The mineral reserves of this deposit total to 2.9 million tonnes, which will provide 2,000 tonnes per day of production over a 5-year life of mine.

Jorge Baraqui highlights that the team in charge of the project is “currently studying alternatives to increase the production rate to 3,000 tonnes per day, which would decrease the life of mine but in turn generate an important contribution to the economic value of the project.”

The project execution plan, which requires an investment of close to US$ 18 million, considers starting development in November 2020. Construction work will last two years, but ore will be sent to the processing plant after the ninth month as the project ramps up to full production.